Monthly Archives: April 2015

Book Review: The Day the Crayons Quit – by Drew Daywalt

The Day the Crayons QuitBook: The Day the Crayons Quit
Author: Drew Daywalt
Illustrator: Oliver Jeffers

Publisher: Philomel Books
Date: 1st edition June 27, 2013
Genre: picture book
Pages: 40
Price: Kindle $8.66; hardcover price varies from about $9.00 up
My Rating: A unique idea that makes a funny story for children to

Duncan is a little boy who loves to colour. One day he opens his crayon box to find – not crayons, but – notes from his crayons! It seems they each have filed a complaint with him, quit, and left home. Of course, each wrote the note itself so the words are in the colour of the crayon. Here are a few:

Pink crayon feels that it’s more of a colour for girls so isn’t used much. How many things are pink?

Red crayon feels it’s used too much.

Blue crayon complains about being used so much it’s become too short to see over the edge of the box.

White writes that it usually can’t be seen unless outlined.

Peach is embarrassed. It seems Duncan peeled its paper off so now it feels naked.

Yellow and orange are fighting  – something about the colour of the sun – so aren’t speaking to one another anymore.

Poor Duncan. What is he to do? You’ll have to read the book to find out what he comes up with to make them all happy. 🙂

This is a funny, well-written story young children should enjoy having read to them, and later learning to read themselves. This reader wanted to know what colour’s note would come next and what problem would be presented. The illustrations are cute and nicely done, with the crayons’ printing like a young child would do.

This book by Drew Daywalt was rated as Amazon Best Children’s Book of 2013.

You can find The Day the Crayons Quit on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂



Ever lose your luggage on a flight? Watch this hilarious video!

Do you like to travel? Perhaps you are one of many travellers who’ve had the misfortune of  luggage going missing somewhere between departure and arrival at their destination. Or maybe when it comes around on the luggage carousel it’s in worse condition than when it went on.

Here is a hilarious video I thought you would enjoy. I actually laughed out loud, and it usually takes a lot to impress me when it comes to stand-up comedy. This fellow – comedian Rhod Gilbert – is so funny.

Click HERE and enjoy.

What’s your travel story? Has your luggage been damaged or gone missing?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂


Sue Harrison’s “Writing the Third Dimension”, part 27: One More Time – Third Draft

Welcome back! For the rest of this year we invite you to return here, specifically on the fourth Thursday of each month for the newest installment of Sue Harrison’s teaching: Writing The Third Dimension. You can read and learn from all the fabulous segments from 2013-2015 by clicking on the page title WRITING THE THIRD DIMENSION, found under Writers’ Helps & Workshops on the drop-down menu. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments for Sue. Now for the topic for month twenty-seven:


“Writing the Third Dimension” – part 27: One More Time – Third Draft

I love writing Third Drafts! Third Drafts don’t involve the hard mental work necessary in writing a First Draft, and Third Drafts rise above the disillusionment of the Second Draft. By the time I’m writing a Third Draft, I’ve accepted the fact that my novel is not, and never will be, perfect. Acceptance escorts me into that place of hope where happy novelists live. Perhaps, just perhaps, my book will touch someone’s heart.

During the Second Draft of a novel, I dissect the book – scene by scene and chapter by chapter. I rewrite it the same way. With the Third Draft, I read the novel in one big gulp.  Here’s the process:

1. I read the novel, usually the version that “resides” on my computer.

2. As I read, I leave myself notes where changes are necessary. Sometimes I need to cut or expand descriptive passages. Sometimes, I need to delete a repetitive scene or an “already-been-said” dialog. If I find that I should add a chapter or two or even three, I write myself a short paragraph, within the text, that tells me what action needs to occur, which characters are involved, and what motivates those characters.

3. After I’ve read the entire novel, I go back and make the noted changes.

4. If I’ve added any new chapters, I read them through several times to smooth the edges and make sure they meld into the rest of the novel.

5. I print out the whole thing, three-hole punch the pages, and place them into a binder.

6. That’s it. Third Draft done!

This is another celebration time for me. My husband and I will have a dinner “out” or maybe go to a movie, or I might just stop at our local shoe store…. *grin*



Question for you: How do you celebrate the small victories in your life?

Strength to your pen!


 *Writing the Third Dimension, copyright, 2010 Sue Harrison*

Sue HarrisonBestselling author, Sue Harrison, has written two bestselling Alaska trilogies: The Ivory Carver Trilogy and The Storyteller Trilogy – all of which went digital in May 2013. She also wrote a middle readers’ book SISU. Prior to the publication of her novels, Harrison was employed at Lake Superior State University as a writer and acting director of the Public Relations Department and as an adjunct instructor in creative writing and advanced creative writing. For more information, click here. To inquire about booking Sue for workshops or speaking engagements this year, click here.

Thanks for joining us! Please feel free to leave your questions and comments. We invite you to come back May 28, 2015, for part 28.


Book Review: Writing Fiction: A Guide for Pre-Teens – by Heather Wright

Writing Fiction - A Guide for Pre-TeensBook: Writing Fiction: A Guide for 
Author: Heather Wright
Publisher: Saugeen Publications
Date: July 24, 2014
Genre: Writers' Guide-book
Pages: 68
Price: under $7.00
My Rating: A helpful, easy-to-follow guide designed for 
young writers and useful to anyone

When I learned that Heather Wright had put together a writing guide for pre-teens, I asked for a review copy. Hoping there would be tips even I could pick up, I wasn’t disappointed.

When I was a pre-teen or teenager I could have benefited from this book, as will any young writers now. Writing Fiction: A Guide for Pre-Teens is well-planned, covering everything a young writer needs to know to give them a sound foundation. It is easy to follow, enjoyable to read, informative, helpful, educational and challenging in a fun and encouraging way.

Each section is divided into sub-sections as follows:

Getting Started

  • Joywriting

What do I need to be a writer?

Habits and Goals

  • Choosing Your Goal
  • Writing Every Day
  • Don’t Miss a Word
  • Write with a Friend or Two

Pantser or Plotter: Which are You?

  • The Pantser
  • The Plotter

Where do I get ideas for stories?

  • What if?
  • Write What You Know
  • Pick 4 Words

Writing Prompts

Plotting Tips

  • Basic Rule of Plotting
  • Story Planning

Plotting with the Hero’s Journey

How do I start my story?

Who should tell the story?

  • Point of View: First Person
  • Point of View: Second Person
  • Point of View: Third Person

How do I describe my characters?

  • Show Don’t Tell
  • Change is Good
  • Character List

How do I describe the setting?

  • Think about how much you really have to describe
  • Use Comparisons
  • Get the Senses Involved
  • Draw a Map or Use Photos

How do I write dialogue?

How do I end my story?

How do I make my writing better?

  • Revising and Editing
  • Words
  • Sentences
  • Combining Sentences
  • Paragraphs

What do I do when a story gets stuck?

  1. Outline
  2. Forget about making the first draft perfect
  3. Write more than one story at a time
  4. Put the story away
  5. Brainstorm
  6. Ask “What if?”
  7. Don’t worry

The author ends with a section called Last Words in which she invites readers to visit her website and ask any questions they may have, or share with her a paragraph or two of their stories.

Writing Fiction: A Guide for Pre-Teens by Heather Wright is an excellent teaching aid for young writers. I suspect that if you are a writer – no matter your age – reading the headings above you found something that caught your interest. Why not add this helpful writing guide to your collection of writing books?

You can find Writing Fiction: A Guide for Pre-Teens on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

As a bonus for you I am including a link to Laura Best’s blog so you can read the very interesting guest post by Heather Wright.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂





Can you help me find a book?

When I was a little girl (many years ago) in elementary school we didn’t have a local library. The bookmobile is what I remember, and for the small, very shy young girl I was, it was scary and intimidating. The other children were excited to climb on board, pushing their way to the shelves of books, but I would hang back in awe and hesitation.

When I was successfully coaxed into the bus with the other children, the smell of those many books captivated me. How would I ever choose a book? What did I even look for on those floor to ceiling shelves? Oh my! It was amazing and overwhelming.

I wish I could recall the name of the book I was given to read and that I grew to love. Being a slow reader at that time, devouring every word and scene and visualizing everything as I went along, the book I borrowed I never got to finish. It had to go back after awhile so others could enjoy it. What a disappointment! I don’t think it ever came back around to my school, although I timidly asked several times.

Even yet, how much I wish I could find that book again. Now I wonder if I were to put out my very vague descriptions is there anyone out there who will take what I can share and know what I am talking about?

It could be that my memories are of two books combined in my mind, two books that stirred up my imagination and wonder. Here’s all I can remember of them now: 

  • a child looking at herself in the mirror discovered the child looking back at her was not really herself but someone else, and seeing her from a different world she could come to her through the mirror. It seems to me that meant trouble, mischief, but I can’t recall what happened.
  • I think – maybe  in another book – there was a peculiar little man who came to help care for children and he could fly somehow and take them on adventures. He also was dearly loved by the children because he was fun and safe and adventurous. His name may have begun with a P .. but I’m unsure about that;
  • I think the children’s parents would not always agree with what he allowed, even though it was not dangerous or anything;
  • He also only stayed a certain amount of time and then had to move on, maybe because the children had outgrown him so he was going to others to care for them.

Does any of this sound familiar? Oh, how I wish I could remember what those book titles were! I would so love to find them now, especially the one about Mister … somebody, but with only the above to go by it is probably impossible. I have more impressions than memories I can put into words about it. Know what I mean?

If you think you might be able to help me I would be delighted! and very happy. 🙂 Please let me know.

Is there a book you wish you could find from … way back when?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

2 Book Reviews : Millions of Souls – the Philip Riteman Story; The Rise & Fall of Adolf Hitler

Today I received an email about Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day.  What’s curious about this is that I didn’t even know about Yom HaShoah, but yesterday I finished reading a book called The Rise & Fall of Adolf Hitler written by William L. Shirer.  (Book review at end of this post.)

You know, it dumbfounds me how people can be so blind and indifferent, thereby allowing such unspeakable horrors to continue without correction!

A side note: One evening Dad and I were watching a program on television where people were asked on the street if they think our soldiers saved the world – referring to World War II. One young woman said no, she didn’t think they saved the world. I was aghast! Dad was disgusted. How can she not know the truth of that time? Aren’t our schools teaching anything about that part of our history anymore? Are they just skimming over it?

As soon as I finished the little book mentioned above (which, I must add, said nothing about Canadian soldiers who played a big part, and not much about American soldiers either) I began reading a book called Millions of Souls – the Philip Riteman Story. Mr. Riteman, a Jew, survived the Holocaust but his whole family was exterminated. He now lives here in Nova Scotia. A few years ago he was encouraged to tell his story, the result being this book – although it was extremely emotionally painful for him to do so as it brought back horrible memories. He now travels around the province selflessly telling some of his story to groups who invite him.

It’s timely that I should be reading these books at this time. Although I haven’t read all of Mr. Riteman’s book yet, I am going to include it here for you today on Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Believe me, it is not for young readers who are not prepared to read about the cruelties and realities of war. What I have read makes me heartsick. It is truly unthinkable what people do to people. The evil in this world …    Having said that, at some point everyone should know.

Millions of SoulsBook: Millions of Souls – the Philip Riteman Story
Author: Philip Riteman, as told to Mireille

Publisher: Flanker Press
Date: October 12, 2010
Genre: Memoir
Pages: 174
Price: $16.95
My Rating: A must-read as a way to know the horrific truth about the Holocaust


I think the best way to tell you about this book is to write here what is on the back cover.

“Philip Riteman is a Holocaust survivor whose mission is to educate today’s youth on the atrocities committed against millions of Jews and Gentiles by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime during World War II. From the Pruzhany Ghetto, Poland, Philip and his family were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. There, his entire family was exterminated. As the lone survivor, Philip was used as a forced labourer in five concentration camps, where he witnessed the cruellest treatments that can be inflicted on human beings: degradation, dehumanization, starvation, hard labour, daily beatings, torture, and deliberate, cold-blooded murder.

Millions of Souls is told in three parts. First is Philip’s account of life in his hometown and as an eyewitness to the struggle for survival in the concentration camps. Second is the story of Philip’s exodus to Newfoundland after the war, where he discovered that there was still some humanity left in the world. Third is the story of Philip Riteman today, and his commitment to spreading his message: “Hate destroys people, communities, and countries. Love binds us all together and makes a better world.”

Philip Riteman’s story was recorded by Mireille Baulu-MacWillie during a series of interviews at Philip’s home in Nova Scotia, Canada.”

“I speak for millions and millions who cannot speak.” – Philip Riteman

Thank you Mr. Riteman!

You can find Millions of Souls on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

The Rise & Fall of Adolf Hitler - by William L. Shirer

Book: The Rise & Fall of Adolf Hitler
Author: William L. Shirer
Publisher: Scholastic Book Services
Date: 1968; 7th printing January 1970
Genre: Historical
Pages: 188
Price: varies from under $1.00 up
My rating: worth reading to know the shocking truth of the madness  behind WWII

I read this book just to know what I may not have otherwise learned along the way. I’m glad I did. It was an easy book to read, but was difficult to read because of the horror of war, the driven insanity of Adolf Hitler, the unspeakable cruelty he promoted and insisted upon toward anyone in his way. It was revolting to me to learn more of the seeming stupidity of those around him to allow him to carry on the way he did. He was terrifying. He was insane.

My father is a WWII veteran, and I deeply respect all WWII soldiers who put their lives on the line to stop the attempted overtaking of the world, a little at a time. It was a long horrific war that could have been stopped many different times – but it wasn’t seen at first as a realistic threat. As it progressed it became very hard to stop, including several attempts on Hitler’s life which were unsuccessful. I had an uncle who was a young German soldier in WWII, one of countless who didn’t want to fight in Hitler’s armies but had no choice. How very sad and tragic it all was.

This is a small book worth reading.   Lest we forget.

You can find The Rise & Fall of Adolf Hitler on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Mary Oliver quote

“There is a notion


creative people




heedless of social custom



It is, hopefully,


– Mary Oliver


Does any of this describe you?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂